Public invited to 23rd Old Timers’ Picnic
Each year, the Truckee Donner Historical Society’s Old Timer’s Picnic goes through some changes. Faces come and faces go, but they mostly go.
“It’s sad. More than half of the people at the original picnic have died,” said Sharon Pace Arnold, president of the historical society and long-time Truckee resident. “My mother just turned 95 and she’s unable to come this year. My whole family used to come. Now I’m the only one in the Pace family who can make it.”
The idea for the Old Timers’ Picnic came to be when Arnold’s uncle, long-time Truckee-resident George Pace, came up to Truckee one Memorial Day weekend, Arnold said. He was eating lunch at Brown’s Cafe and talking to one of the owners, Jo Brown.
“He said, ‘What we need is to have a time when all the old timers can meet,'” Arnold recalled.
The next year, through word of mouth, the historical society held the first-ever Old Timers’ Picnic.
In it’s 23rd year, the picnic still promises to be a place to gather and reminisce about old Truckee despite the dwindling turnout. Last year nearly 150 people came out for the event.
“I would usually leave an old timers’ picnic with pages of notes,” said Guy Coates, vice president and historian for the historical society. “In many cases, old timers shared photographs and allowed us to duplicate them.”
Many of the attendees in recent years live out of the Tahoe area, but they come to represent their family with stories of a much different Truckee.
“The people who lived here were really close,” Coates said. “Truckee at that time was a different place. They all lived in town, in the downtown area.”
The picnic will also celebrate the 35th anniversary of the historical society.
“Our membership is going down,” Arnold said. “We have close to 300 members and most aren’t locals. We’re looking for some new people who have been around a while.”
Attendees will have the opportunity to renew or apply for membership with the historical society and purchase old photos or books on Truckee history. Anybody who is interested in local history, old timer or not, is welcome to attend the picnic.
“It’s a privilege to meet some of these people,” Coates said. “It’s a rare opportunity. You never know who will still be around next year.”
The 23rd annual Truckee Old Timers’ Picnic will be held this Saturday at Truckee River Regional Park at 10 a.m. Cold drinks will be provided, but attendees should bring their own lunch, folding chairs and blankets. Call 582-0893 for more information.